Part of this game's charm is that each Zubo has a different personality. In the Horror Land, you will find Hunchy, a Zubo based on the Hunchback of Notre Dame; and in Pop Land you will find Pinky, a pop star. You need to take care of your Zubos by finding or earning musical notes, the currency of this land, so that you can buy food to restore a Zubo's health after a battle. You can swap out Zubo friends as you go, but only three can travel with you at a time.
If two friends each own this game, they can battle against one another with their Zubos using the Nintendo DS wireless connection. But unlike the "Pokemon" games, there is no trading of Zubos.
"Zubo" is rated "E+10" because some of the battle gags have crude humor, such as using farts, and the animations show mild cartoonlike violence.
It is refreshing to see a children's video game that has a deep combat system that uses gags instead of gore, and humor instead of danger.
RATING: 4.5 stars (out of 5) Best for ages 8 and up From Electronic Arts, www.zubo.ea.com, $29.99, Nintendo DS.
Jinny Gudmundsen is the kid-tech columnist for USA Today.com and Gannett News Service, and is also the editor of Computing With Kids (www.ComputingWithKids.com ).